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Member since: Fri Feb 14, 2020, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 5,066

Journal Archives

UC Berkeley groups ban "Zionists" from events.

(Note to mods: This is not about the I/P conflict but about freedom of expression and antisemitism on public American campuses)

But we probably should have a discussion about antisemitism on our campuses at some point.

And, of course, it's Jewish students who are placed in the crossfire.


Not only was the outreach process highly questionable, but the substance of the bylaw is antithetical to our school’s academic principles. UC Berkeley is “committed to ensuring freedom of expression and dialogue that elicits the full spectrum of views held by our varied communities.” In particular, our law school is driven by the acceptance and promotion of intellectual differences.

Yet at the urging of LSJP, some student affinity groups at Berkeley Law will now no longer hear from anyone who supports the State of Israel. Rather than inviting dialogue and education, LSJP has silenced a particular group of individuals: Zionists are forbidden from speaking on any topic with these affinity groups.

It is no secret that Israeli policy is little affected by the BDS movement. Instead, the consequences are felt by the Jewish students at Berkeley.

Here lies the sad but predictable outcome of the new bylaw: No matter our organization’s official stance, the Jewish students at Berkeley Law are left divided. If we publicly condemn the BDS movement and the bylaw, some Jewish students will feel we have strayed from our mission to be a welcoming space for all Jewish views. Or we can say nothing, and many other Jewish students will feel unsupported by their own Jewish community.

Can't pin this stuff on MAGA. And if you think the groups that foment this sort of thing stop at only "Zionists" then you haven't been on a campus in a few decades.

Didn't Read The Article Before Commenting? Science Says It Really Shows

Something on my mind with social media of late. There's currently an article where . . . most people just didn't read it. Like, at all. So I was curious and wondered if there were any studies done about how much people on social media actually are reading and processing the information available.

Of course there was a study.

A little bit of knowledge can go straight to your head, and not in a good way. New research has found that those who only read snippets of their Facebook newsfeed often think they know more than they actually do.

By glancing through article previews, instead of reading the full piece, many users overestimate their understanding of an issue, and this is especially true for those whose knowledge is guided by strong emotions - and, therefore, strong opinions.

"Because most social media users only have a passing engagement with posted news, exposure to political information on social media may simply create the illusion of political learning," write the researchers at the York College of Pennsylvania . . .

Unsurprisingly, those who read the full article answered the most questions correctly, while those who read the preview scored only one more correct answer than those who were given no information at all. Additionally, the findings suggest that people who read only the previews were far too confident in their knowledge. What's more, those participants whose cognitive style is more guided by emotion, tend to be more certain of their rightness.


Just something to keep in mind when scrolling along (particularly on Twitter). It's how misinformation spreads. Reading a summary or opinionated assertion about information isn't the same thing as real factual information.

I know how we can draw attention to food insecurity

Let's recruit someone to go down to Florida. Some wily mind with luciferian persuasive skills. Roll up to Ron DeSantis' place. Just wriggle in there. Maybe get on his staff. Some position of influence.

Convince DeSantis to steal food from a few food banks.

I bet we'd suddenly care about food insecurity real, real fast instead of the current crickets that seem to be greeting a profound issue that is affecting tens of millions of Americans every single day and has only been growing worse over the past year.

So, let's go. Can someone convince DeSantis to steal from a food bank so we can get Twitter to care about the issue?

EBT emergency funds expiring during historic grocery inflation

I volunteer with friends at a county food bank program some Saturdays, and this came up yesterday.

During Covid, California EBT started issuing an extra $95 a month to families and individuals. This extra allotment is set to expire on October 1st, 2022. The state has been sending out letters to people saying their EBT will be bumped up starting Oct. 1st citing "cost of utility" increases. However . . . (can you see where this is about to go?)

They'll still be receiving less money for groceries every month. This will be about a 15% reduction (it varies depending on number of people in household).

Last month, the inflation rate for groceries hit 13.5% year over year, the highest since 1979.

Just wanted to throw this out there for those who think inflation is no big deal/fake/media conspiracy/"I don't see price increases at my store"/etc. that I hear all the time.

People barely making it are about to feel some shafting.

On the plus side, we recently successfully recruited a farmer's market we've been after for awhile to contribute to the boxes. So, wewt. In food deserts, people have trouble getting cheap produce, so those who use our program are getting more fruit and vegetables. At least it's something, because we expect demand to start going up even further.

DeSantis flipped school boards last night

Perhaps lost in all the other elections. 21 out of 30 candidates for local school boards in Florida supported by DeSantis won their races with four others headed to run offs.

Local elections matter, even though national races get all the media oxygen.

I think a lot of this is Covid policy backlash. Parents were not nearly as keen on distance schooling as the teachers were. It's been like that even here in the Bay Area. Districts that supported longer stay at home policies faced much more backlash in their elections.

A lot of the battles people spend a lot of time on social media discussing on a national level get played out concretely in their backyards. Maybe time to focus more on that, or there will be more DeSantis and more changes like this.


US rents hit a record high for the 17th month in a row

I'm so glad I have a mortgage locked in at 1.99%.

Rents hit a record high in July for the 17th month in a row, putting ever more pressure on renters.

The national median rent hit a new record high of $1,879 a month in July, up 12.3% from a year ago, according to Realtor.com. While rents have been hitting new records for nearly a year and a half, there are some early signs that the market may be starting to cool off: July marked the sixth-straight month of moderating growth, retreating from a 17% year-over-year rent increase in January.

Still, rents rose by double-digit percentages in all size categories in July compared to a year ago, with monthly rents for studios up 14.3% to $1,555; one-bedrooms, up 12.2% to $1,745; and two-bedrooms, up 11.7% to $2,103.

The South and Northeast have seen the largest rent increases. Miami, where rents were up 26.2% from a year ago, saw the biggest increase among the 50 largest US cities for the 10th-straight month. Miami was followed by New York, Boston, Chicago, and Orlando.


Jill Biden's "breakfast taco" may have been an inside joke

Which the locals would have understood, but it didn't play well nationally when bereft of context.

I did some quick searchy searchy, because I wondered if breakfast tacos were an Americanized thing. Instead, I found this rather lengthy article about the origins - and epic War of the Roses level fight - over the origin of breakfast tacos.

Summarized: San Antonio (where Biden was) hates, hates, hates that Austin takes credit for popularizing breakfast tacos, when it was very much their own culinary convention for years.


So the speech writer may have been playing to the audience in the room, but on a national level it just looked like pure cringe.

The more you know.

(None of this story is important. I'm just bored).

News engagement plummets as Americans tune out


Cable viewership across the three major cable news networks — CNN, Fox News and MSNBC — is, on average, down 19% in prime time for the first half of this year compared to the first half of 2021. Those losses skew heavily toward CNN and MSNBC, which are down 47% and 33%, respectively. Fox's ratings are up 12% in that six-month span.

News app sessions for the top 12 mainstream most-trafficked publishers dropped 16% in the first half of 2022, according to data from Apptopia.

Website visits for the top 5 news websites in the U.S. by unique visits tracked by Similarweb dropped 18% in the first half of 2022.

Engagement on social media with news articles cratered over the past six months, dropping 50% since the first half of last year, despite more articles published, according to data from Newswhip. Engagement is measured by interactions with articles posted, which includes likes, comments and shares.

The best part of statistics like these, anyone can read anything into them according to personal politics and taste. Everybody's happy!

My current avoidance with news organizations is how dense and erratic the news cycle has become. One story dominates for a day or so. Forgotten. Dominates. Forgotten. "MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER!!!!" Forgotten perhaps by end of day. It's always been somewhat like this, but I think the clickbait nature of everything has rendered much of it exhausting and not worth the effort. "That story is eight hours ago. We need to re-engage eyeballs!"

For me, it's at the point of reading a highly embellished headline that looks like the internet equivalent of skywriting and thinking, "No. I'm not reading that. I know it won't be worth it."

Millennials are the largest workforce and the least wealthy -- why?


Some highlights:

In 1989, when Baby Boomers were roughly the same age as Millennials today, Boomers owned 21.3% of the national wealth. Millennials today own just 4.6%. This means that at their same stage of earnings development, Baby Boomers owned proportionally four times as much of the total wealth as Millennials. . .

As the economy continues to change, things are looking worse and worse for Millennials without a college degree. Race also plays a significant role in wealth statistics. At the end of 2019, Black Millennials had just $5,000 in household wealth on average, compared with their white counterparts, who had on average $88,000. The same study also showed that not only are Black millennials trailing white Millennials in terms of wealth, but are also trailing previous generations of Black families' average wealth by 52%. . .

One significant dampener of Millennial wealth is student loan debt. As shown in the chart below, Millennials hold roughly $500 billion in student loan debt. Between 1964 — when the youngest Boomers were born, and 2015 — the annual cost of a four-year public university grew by 3,700%, even after adjusting for inflation. This means that in 2019 dollars, when Boomers entered college in 1982 they paid an annual tuition of $1,031; Millennials had to pay $9,970 for yearly in-state tuition. (Average costs are more than double at out-of-state four-year universities are more than double and nearly quadruple at private universities). Again, both of those amounts are adjusted for inflation to 2019 dollars. . . .

Both of these causes of the dearth of Millennial wealth are the result of deliberate political and policy choices: States have cut support to higher education, shifting the cost on to students, who in turn borrowed money for college degrees they were told were essential to survive in today's economy. Once in the economy, Millennial workers were left to confront a political economy in which labor unions were crushed and employers given maximum leverage.

We're quite an entitled generation. Boot straps, people. Boot straps.

I can't shake the feeling the Court is Congress reaping what it has sown

For at least forty years, Congress has again and again thrown to the courts and other areas what they themselves probably should have been managing.

Think of how many advances we've made as a society that never made it through Congress but were instead tossed at the courts to or federal agencies to deal with. Reproductive freedom. LGBT rights. Climate change policy.

Once the Court well and truly flipped and started deciding, "Not our job. Not the EPAs job. It's Congress' job," there's chaos.

Codifying those things we want to keep into tangible law rather than relying on the vacillating interpretations of five people is something we should have been doing all along. But there is forever an election on the horizon. Stop me if you've heard this. "Now's not the time, because the election is 12, 9, 6, 3 months away . . ."

I'm not agreeing with the Court's recent rulings - far from. I am, however, suggesting that how our political system functions and how much we as voters and partisan actors have indulged it for so long was leading to this kind of inevitability.

Congress has sacrificed many of its roles and functions to the executive and judicial branches over the past 50 years. What we're seeing now can be directly traced to it. When we left our basic liberal advances in the hands of a few, we imperiled their lasting power.

Maybe it's time to stop writing everything on a political dry erase board and start doing things more concretely. Our representatives need to start taking stands and doing the work even if it makes their Novembers more difficult.

Just my thinking at the moment.
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